BH CORRESPONDENT, Kolkata/New Delhi: The Centre and state governments said on Sunday that 80 cities in 75 districts of the country affected by the novel coronavirus will be locked down and no trains, Metros and interstate buses will operate till March 31 as the number of COVID-19 cases soared to 396 in the biggest jump the country has seen so far.
The West Bengal government said, however, that the lockdown in all municipal towns of the state, including Kolkata, will remain in place till March 27. It will then take a decision whether or not to extend the restrictions.
Bihar and Maharashtra reported two more COVID-19 linked deaths on Sunday taking the total number of fatalities related to the disease to six across the country.
The decision to stop the transport services was taken after chief secretaries of all states held a meeting with the Union cabinet secretary and principal secretary. “In view of the need to contain the spread of COVID-19, it was agreed that there is an urgent need to extend the restrictions on the movement of non-essential passenger transport including inter-state transport buses till 31st March 2020,” a government release said.
“Following detailed discussions, the state governments were advised to issue appropriate orders to allow only essential services to operate in 75 districts which have reported confirmed cases or causalities sting to COVID-19,” it said.
This comes after the Indian Railways issued a similar order earlier in the day, saying all passengers trains across the country will not run till March 31. The order issued by the ministry of railways said goods trains will continue to run to ensure essential services and that all suburban trains services will also be stopped till March 31.
Meanwhile, on Sunday i.e. March 22, Indians locked themselves at home in the first dry run to fight the fast-spreading coronavirus. Millions across the country are staying indoors in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Janta Curfew’. At 5 pm, just like the PM said, Indians stood in their balconies and clapped with bells, thalis more to appreciate the efforts of the doctors, media and the police officials who are working to fight amid the coronavirus crisis. On Twitter, #5baje5minute was trending. The President of India Ram Nath Kovind along with the First Lady and rest of the members of the family also joined the fellow citizens in appreciating the efforts of the doctors and nurses and other officials in the fight against COVID-19.
Bengal: What’s on, what off
– People shall be required to stay at home and come out only for basic service while strictly following social distancing guidelines
– Food including groceries, vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, bread, and milk
– Essential services such as fire, health services, police, banks, ATMs, medicines shops, petrol pumps, print, electronic and social media will remain open
– Any congregation of more than 7 person shall be prohibited in public places
– All commercial establishments, offices and factories, workshops, godowns will remain closed